Seldom in history have so many conglomerated opportunities mandated action in such a short time, on such a wide span of geography, to revive such a major cause related to nationhood, statehood, independence, and sovereignty.
In a geopolitical storm such as the one the region is going through right now, the dust that it generates makes it hard to recognize a matter objectively, let alone predict the future and plan for it. Hard, it could be, but impossible it could not; events, discoveries of facts, and history facilitate separation of fact from fiction.
Such is the case with the Armenian reality today, and through it all one can see the Phoenix rising against the rising sun. We are at the dawn of a major advancement thrown at us by destiny, yet we are oblivious to the facts and continue to pursue a two-step faulty national policy that involves:
a) internationally incriminating Turkey for committing the Armenian Genocide, and then, after finishing the task,
b) asking for reparations, which in some minds are monetary. Imagine, if you will, selling your millennia-old national property, Western Armenia, for $3 billion, as some reparations-pursuing people advocate.
This approach was wrong, is wrong, and shall continue to be wrong. It is based on the mercy and the goodwill of major countries that dominate the international arena, and whose interests are not served by alienating Turkey. Much to the delight of Turkey, the plan continues to suffer from inertia.
Other approaches are essential and deserve full consideration. It is imperative to shift from a defensive position to offensive action in the enemy territory. No, I don’t mean waging war against Turkey, but exploiting the internal vulnerabilities from which Turkey continues to suffer today. There are some 20 million Kurds, the disenchanted and disenfranchised in Turkey, and now some 100,000 Muslim Armenians in the body of the Hamshen, and close to a million Armenians who were forcibly converted to Islam to save their necks, and who are yearning to openly claim their ethnic identity and be recognized as such. There are many among these people look up to us, admire our victory in Karabagh, and look for our guidance.
The major question is whether we have leaders who have guts, vision, lucidity, and dedication, and are capable of handling the issues correctly, deliberately, and with unyielding conviction, for the road is long, tough, and studded with unexpected surprises.
Times have changed. So have people and their approach to solving their problems: There has been an awakening and increased political awareness among people who for so long suffered in the hands of corrupt governments and tyrant rulers. Ideologies and political orientations have metamorphosed to shed the mental serfdom that had controlled their thoughts, and therefore behavior, for more than a century.
The Arab Spring is a phenomenon worthy of serious consideration. It is just coming out of the Arab Winter, which was imposed upon them by the Ottoman Turks some 400 years ago. Their awakening started some 100 years ago through the Hashemite Revolution; their goal was to rid the Arab nation from the tyranny of the sultans and the hegemony of the Ottoman Turk. In this, they were revolutionary partners of the Armenians, who were also waging armed struggle against the Ottoman Caliphate. The ARF’s action to assassinate the Red Sultan Abdul Hamid was hailed by the Arabs and gave them a psychological boost. King Hussain Bin Ali of Hijaz acknowledged that and released a fatwa asking the Arabs to help the Armenian refugees who had escaped the genocide.
This revolution, which resulted in establishing today’s Arab states, lasted for only so long. It did not work for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was corruption and political oppression by their rulers. To bring about change, people had to evolve their thoughts and struggle to a point of maturation, which gave birth to the Arab Spring. True, the aftermath of the winter is still lingering and their road is still long, but reaching their destination is sure. Look at Egypt today, some six months after their revolution: People are back in Tahrir Square challenging their government to complete their goals!
It is the evolved psychology of the ordinary person that is motivating them; they had changed from Pharaonic serfdom to peasants of the monarchy era, to British and Ottoman colonies, to freedom-seeking masses demanding democracy.
The lessons of Arab Spring should not be overlooked!
Armenians must have a change of mind and change of heart to free ourselves from the passivity that has been injected into our veins by age-old antiquated and corrupt organizations. It is a scientific fact that prolonged grief leads to serious mental depression. They put us there, we stayed there, and we are still there! The nation is depressed and cannot see the rising Phoenix. We must discard, with our whole being, the conviction that we are victims. We were, but not anymore! Not after our glorious victory in Karabagh, not with our Hamshen in the Trabizon area, not with our Javakhk, not with our two million-strong community in Moscow, not with our Armenian-American and French-Armenian communities, not with our Javakhk brothers in Georgia, and not with the rest of the Diasporan Empire.
No, we cannot afford to continue the mentality of self-pity; we must recognize the Phoenix and be on the offensive.
Armenia must be the nidus of all things Armenian, which it is not now. If we do not change, we will continue the pathetic status quo, which exists now in Armenia.
We would continue the status quo if we continue neglecting the villager in Armenia, and leave him wanting for a piece of bread, and treating him at best with benign neglect.
We would continue the status quo if we hold rigged elections, continuing corruption at the highest levels.
We would continue the status quo if, through economic inaction, emigration to the tune of 65,000 Armenian citizens a year continue.
We would continue the status quo if we don’t take care of our valiant warriors who realized the Artsakh victory, some of whom have become food scavengers, while 10 percent of the population in Armenia lives in European-style luxury.
No, we cannot survive if the status quo persists.
It is irrelevant who is in government as long as these shamefully raging problems are rectified.
Present-day Armenia cannot live with handouts. Even with that, they are doing a poor job. The diaspora has lost its confidence in the government of Armenia. There is also a psychological disconnect between Armenia and the diaspora; we are disappointed and heartbroken, our relationship with Armenia has become disjointed. The honorable minister charged with diasporan affairs, Hranoush Hagopian, has failed to mobilize us in support of pan-Armenianness.
All this lies in one thing: leadership. The leaders of Armenia, the diaspora, and the political parties who are at the helm, must realize that these problems beg a solution. They must also realize that the sun is rising on the Armenian nation, albeit on a foggy day, showing the Armenian Phoenix on the horizon. The Phoenix must be recognized!